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Is child fashion making kids grow up too quickly?

The closest thing I’ve experienced to having children is owning a dog, and while, sure, it’s not quite the same, one thing I have realised is that you begin to accumulate stuff when a new little being comes into your life.

First come the toys, then the fancy bed for him to sleep in, and before you know it, I’m tempted to buy a little studded collar with my pooch’s name written in diamantes.

I can only imagine the same goes for parents and their children, too. Not the collar, that’d be weird.

But I can imagine you just want to accumulate stuff for them. Give them a brand new pair of shoes or a gorgeous dress, a pair of itty-bitty sneakers that they’re going to grow out of in about five minutes.

It’s because we love them, right? We love doting on these mini extensions of ourselves, even to the point that it leaves us spending so much money on how they look.

It’s hardly surprising, though, especially when you realise that while Australia’s retail sector was in meltdown mode during the global financial crisis, the infants and children’s clothing retail industry actually performed pretty well.

But appropriate kids’ clothing has gone from well-worn hand-me-downs to leather pants and Burberry trench coats — I’m looking at you, North West — with 1 and 2-year-olds dressing like they’re in their 20s. Can what children wear actually result in children growing up too soon?

Angela Mollard, a social commentator, columnist and mum, penned a piece for in which she says our focus on our children’s style and their accumulation of stuff is stopping kids from having fun and it actually contributes to them growing up too quickly.

Instead of worrying about designer labels and emulating the style of some high-profile celebrity’s kids, we should instead allow kids be kids, she goes on to say. Let them pick out their own outfits of mismatched socks, party dresses and other colourful pre-loved clothing options instead of working their wardrobe like a stylist.

By dressing up children like dolls and making them wear clothing that is probably more suited to the runway than the playground, we’re robbing kids of their childhoods and the important act of play.

What do you think? Does children’s clothing impact how fast they grow up? Share your thoughts and opinions in the comments section below.

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